The future location of the Pioneer Settlement’s steam train has been a talking point for our community.
No decision has been made about the train’s location. We are still looking at possibilities in Swan Hill, in other areas of the municipality and in Castlemaine. A decision will be made in the new year, once we have the pros and cons of all options finalised and community consultation completed.
What we know now is that the train has to move.
For many years the community has been asking Council to make use of our region’s best asset – the river. This came out formally in the 2013 Riverfront Masterplan, where 2000 people gave us their views.
Since that masterplan, we have been steadily delivering on projects to bring more people and more life to the riverfront.
We’ve opened the new boat ramp, toilet block and skate park; the new adventure playground and Yamagata garden are almost complete; and in the near future, the two metre wide pathway will extend all the way from Milloo Street wetlands to the Gallery carpark.
We are working with state authorities to get access to railway land to make walking from the CBD to the river much easier.
And Our Place will be built on Monash Drive. Our Place will have views over the river, including from the second floor art gallery.
Once it is built and all these other riverfront assets finalised, this area will be even more of an attraction for locals and visitors. We expect that visitors will come to town and head for the river precinct. They will come to visit the information centre, the gallery, the Settlement and to learn about local Aboriginal culture.
From a practical point of view, Our Place will save costs by combining multiple buildings and services into one, and reduce the cost burden of running the Pioneer Settlement, freeing up funds for other services. Extra parking will be built for both cars and caravans.
The project will open up more public, landscaped space around the PS Gem that can be used for events and functions, or just to sit and enjoy a picnic.
And it will be a building that today’s visitors need and expect – a modern, welcoming facility offering climate control from our sometimes extreme weather, and a contrast between the old and new.
Our Place will be built using a combination of Federal money, from a fund set up specifically to create economic and social stimulus in regional communities, and from Council funding.
You can find out more information about the Our Place project on our website. We have also just engaged an architect to complete detailed designs for Our Place and there will be public information sessions with the architect in the new year.
Councillors will also make a decision on the future location of the train in the new year. We will take into account the cost of all options, and the benefit to community. Please let us know if you have views about where the train should go.
In the meantime, I encourage you to head to the riverfront and see the progress that is already being made.
A big year for Robinvale
As I said in The Sentinel last week it is hard to believe that another year has passed by.
This year has certainly provided our region with some challenges around water, labour and housing. These are all issues that Council continues to lobby for on behalf of the community. We’re also taking some active steps in housing, including the project to subdivide land and develop housing in Ronald Street
A look back at the past 12 months though, and you can see some positive projects and events for Robinvale, and some planning towards a positive future. Roadwork on Bromley Road is nearing completion, with landscaping to take place in 2020, and Perrin Street was upgraded with a new recycled-tyre technology.
Council agreed to sell land on Bromley Road, and a Subway and carwash is being planned for that site. We rolled out the L2P Learner Driver Program, offered free pet microchipping and, with REBA, launched a Robinvale-specific business building program.
A solar energy system was installed on the Robinvale Community Centre, and we halved hall hire fees to make it more accessible to the community.
Robinvale was privileged to have a visit from esteemed journalist Stan Grant for Reconciliation Week, plus there were some awesome locally-run events like the Lantern Festival and Mallee Almond Blossom Festival.
We got the tick on designs for the new Robinvale Community Hub Library, and construction will start early in 2020.
A consultancy firm is looking into possible upgrades at the Robinvale Leisure Centre, and we’re about to appoint someone to design the new netball precinct.
Netball court funds
To finish the year off, at the Council meeting on Tuesday, Councillors agreed to use Federal drought funding for a range of community infrastructure projects around the municipality.
This included $440,000 for the new Robinvale netball courts, which will be combined with Council’s $200,000 contribution. This will help make this project a reality much sooner that otherwise might have been possible. An extra $150,000 from the drought fund will be used to attract State funding for new lighting at the netball courts.
I want to sign off for the year by saying thank you to everyone who has contributed to the Robinvale community this year, pitching in at community events, coming along to community and Council meetings and being part of the conversations about making Robinvale an event better place to be.
I have had some really fruitful discussions with Robinvale locals during some recent visits, getting direct feedback and learning about how issues are playing out on the ground. I hope to make it a more regular thing in the new year.